Fundamental Research and Development
Supporting Present and Future Mission Success
The Aerospace Corporation’s fundamental research and development specializes in advanced military and civilian space systems. These space systems utilize aspects of virtually every physical science and must operate in the harshest and most unforgiving of environments. To ensure mission success, Aerospace recognizes the necessity of conducting research and development in a single location, which allows for complementary knowledge-sharing among our scientists and engineers from a wide variety disciplines, as well as ease of interdepartmental support when necessary.
Our Physical Science Laboratories (PSL) provide a secure, self-contained organization with resources powerful enough to allow complete self-reliance. PSL operates more than 80 specialized laboratories in support of Aerospace’s fundamental research and development, gathered into three focus areas—the Electronics and Photonics Laboratory (EPL), the Space Materials Laboratory (SML), and the Space Science Applications Laboratory (SSAL).
Aerospace research at EPL is focused on electrical power systems for rockets and spacecraft; micro- and nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, and microelectromechanical systems; laser technologies, active optical remote-sensing systems, optical communications, and fiber-optic sensor applications; and applications of atomic physics. At SML, our technical staff works to evaluate and characterize the different material technology needs of national security space programs. SSAL, in addition to our staff of experts in virtually all structural and propulsion materials used in spacecraft and launch vehicles, includes the Imaging Spectroscopy Department, which has become a leading center for the development and application of hyperspectral imaging instruments and data collection.
Along with PSL, Aerospace has two low-cost, but high-capability, research facilities. Our Propulsion Research Facility allows us to conduct small-scale tests of rocket motors and components, while our Mount Wilson Aerospace Facility for Integrated Optical Tests supports research of atmospheric laser propagation and laser communications.